BioTime has announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Embryome Sciences, has entered into a marketing collaboration with Millipore. According to the terms of the agreement, Millipore will become the worldwide distributor of ACTCellerate(TM) human progenitor cell lines, which are derived from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) but are not yet fully differentiated. Although researchers hope that the cells may ultimately have therapeutic applications, currently the cells can only be used for drug screening and for further experimental research.
According to Donald O’Neil, director of marketing for stem cells and cell biology at Millipore, "The Millipore team is committed to supplying high quality products to transport the emerging field of regenerative medicine to an increasing level of sophistication. We believe that Embryome Sciences’ novel, highly-purified and scalable progenitor lines have potential to be a significant breakthrough for the industry, and we’re excited to feature them in our rapidly growing family of novel stem cell lines, media, antibodies, cultureware, and characterization kits."
As BioTime and Embryome Sciences CEO, Michael West, Ph.D., adds, "Many researchers prefer to work with well-characterized progenitor cells rather than starting from scratch with embryonic stem cells. The ACTCellerate(TM) product line gives scientists a jump-start on their research by providing a reliable, highly purified source of characterized human progenitor cells from a variety of lineages. We look forward to working with Millipore’s outstanding marketing team to make these cell lines widely available to scientists worldwide, allowing them to more quickly perform the research and development work that may lead to life-saving therapies."
As described on Millipore’s website, "Millipore’s initial offering of Embryome Sciences’ products will include six novel progenitor cell lines and optimized ESpan growth media for the in vitro propagation of each progenitor cell line. Additional cell lines will be introduced frequently, as Embryome Sciences has already isolated over 140 distinct progenitor cell types. The companies anticipate jointly launching 35 cell lines and associated ESpan growth media within the coming 12 months." Unlike traditional methods, the ACTCellerate lines are generated via a two-step multiplex process that isolates and purifies progenitor cells from different lineages in a rapid manner by which the cells are also selected for scalability, robustness and then characterized for gene marker expression as well as phenotype.
Headquarterd in Alameda, California, BioTime is focused on the development and commercialization of technology and products related to blood plasma volume expanders for use in emergency trauma treatment, surgery and related applications. Its wholly owned subsidiary Embryome Sciences is "focused on developing an array of research and therapeutic products using human embryonic stem cell technology", as described on the personal website of Michael West, Ph.D., molecular gerontologist and BioTime’s CEO. Prior to his work with BioTime, Dr. West founded the Geron Corporation, which received FDA approval earlier this year to commence the first human clinical trials ever to be conducted with hESCs.
Millipore Corporation is an S&P 500 company with nearly 6,000 employees worldwide.
(Please see the related news articles on this website, entitled, "BioTime Receives Second Round of Funding", dated July 13, 2009, and "New Members Added to BioTime’s Board of Directors", dated July 7, 2009).